Where else is there left to turn for the singer-songwriter? The majority of bases are crowded with barely a slither of light between the bodies inhabiting them. Turn to Rufus Wainwright for grand opulence, fill up on miserable beauty with Tom McRae, or get creative finding new words which rhyme with 'vagina' with Adam Green. With these examples and the thousands more besides, surely the only way to proceed, the only way to stand out, is to attack all fronts at once? Take a fair amount of downtrodden and ramshackle charm, add a flourish of grandiosity and some good old-fashioned songwriting, surely it can't fail? You'd be surprised.
'PREfection' is Cass McCombs' second full-length release following the debut 'A' in 2003. There still remains no doubt that he possesses sharp songwriting talents as the opening 'Equinox' proves - all ethereal JAMC melodies and string-led crescendos, it gracefully makes both a standout track and a promising start. The Doors rear their angular, moog-laden heads on the jerky 'Tourist Woman' before moving onto the heavenly guitar introduction to 'Sacred Heart'. What continually manages to grate though is Cass' ponderous, wailing vocal delivery. The production is fairly unspectacular even considering the recurring wall of sound ambiguity, but one of its wisest choices is to place McCombs mostly under layers of reverb.
'PREfection' isn't a bad album considering the renewed atmosphere compared to the debut, but ultimately as a whole it conforms to its namesake - this is very promising precursor to excellence.
5Jesus Chigley's Score